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Using a .pfx to install an SSL certificate

Got a .pfx file and need to install an SSL certificate with this? Here's how I did it. You'll need to extract the signed public certificate (public key) and the private key without passphrase.

cd /etc/nginx/
mkdir ssl
cd ssl
mv /path/to/pfx/file.pfx .
chmod 400 file.fpx

First extract the public certificate. You might be asked for a password.

openssl pkcs12 -in ./file.pfx -clcerts -nokeys -out public.crt

And extract the private key:

openssl pkcs12 -in ./file.pfx -nocerts -nodes -out private.rsa

Now you can test the server on an arbitrary port, using openssl:

openssl s_server -www -accept 443 -cert ./public.crt -key ./private.rsa

Make sure no one can read the files other than you:

chmod 400 /etc/nginx/ssl/*

With NginX it is now easy to fire up the server. I used a proxy for this, because from an architecture perspective, this is the easiest:

server {

    listen 443 ssl;
    ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/public.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/private.rsa;

    location / {
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
        proxy_set_header X-Ssl on;

I pass an additional X-Ssl header to the backend so they know we're publicly serving through the SSL proxy (e.g. for building absolute URL's). Once you actually know how to do it, it is easy as pie.

With thanks to Yadab Das and Berk D. Demir

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